Monday, March 30, 2009

Back on the hog and lovin' it! by Loren Uscilowski

Here's a great race report from Loren Uscilowski, one of the Tri-Flow development racers I coached who competed at the Bariani Road Race:

(On March 22nd) I completed my first road race after about a year and 1/2 hiatus off the bike (hog). My last race prior was The Dallas TX, U.S. Open Triathlon October of 2007. I finished the triathlon, two-stepped at the after party, and let the bike collect dust in the corner of my room for about a year and a half.

I can't really explain the time I took off the bike because I love riding, and although racing can be nerve racking, I do love to get out there and mix it up with the best of them. Maybe I just wanted to see how the other half lives -- not going to bed early on a Friday and Saturday night, because I have a long ride or race in the morning.

Fast forward to Jan 2009, I'm now living in San Francisco, having recently relocated from Los Angeles . Everyone is out riding their bikes and I can't stand the fact that I'm not doing it with them. Now I just need to figure out where to ride. I google San Francisco bike clubs and Velo Girls pops up. I click on the link and I see a bunch of girls in my favorite color - PINK! The team color is pink! How fun!! Then the first paragraph reads, Join the Velo Girls Development team. Is this weird or what? This is exactly what I am looking for!

Training officially started on a Wednesday six weeks ago in one of the team members' garages. The first night was a 20 minute time trial on our trainers to establish heart-rates for the rest of the training program. God that was hard. I left there feeling like I had just raced a real time- trial, feeling a bit dehydrated and sick, but most importantly I left wanting more.

Over the next six weeks all of us bike racing newbies got to know each other's personalities and riding styles on and off the bike. You could tell as we got closer to the race that we were all having pre-race jitters, along with many questions of the unknown. Lorri (our coach) must really have her team formula down, because something amazing happened during the fourth week of training as we were practicing. For the first time, I was riding behind teammates, not even thinking about how close I was to their wheel. It just came naturally, and I have to tell you that it was one of the best feelings in the world to finally not be afraid! We were all coming together as a team, just like Lorri assured us we would.

The much anticipated Bariani Road Race day finally arrived and it was sunny. I couldn't believe it! The forecast called for rain all week but today it was beautiful. The course was a 10 mile loop starting at The Bariani Olive Oil farm and we had to complete it three times.

I felt a little off all week and was unsure of how the day would unfold. Lorri had us set goals and my main one was to ride safe and finish with the main pack. One of my teammates Katie, made rice krispy treats so that was my other goal, finish the race and then I can eat those yummy treats that had been staring me in the eye since yesterday.

Upon arriving we located the Kenda Velo Girls tents and all my teammates were already setting up bike trainers to warm-up before the race. I quickly gathered my things noticing that my heart was starting to beat faster in anticipation of the race ahead of me. Once the warm-up began all the leg pain I had felt earlier in the week and the tiredness from not sleeping much the night before seemed to go away. Then I knew things were going to be o.k. All the girls seemed very focused during warm up. We had practiced this same regimen during our Wednesday night workouts, so I just pretended it was a training session and only once did I secretly wish that I wasn't going to have to race after I got off the trainer. It looked like what you see at the Tour De France when the camera flashes by Lance Armstrong and his team all warming up before the race. Pretty cool feeling. I think what kept me going was the fact that we were all just as nervous as the other becauseof our new adventure and there was no turning back now.

Before I do any race I seem to have this little freak out session. I misplace everything I need. If it's a triathlon, I lose my goggles. For today's bike race I couldn't find a shoe. I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, found my shoe, and was off to the start line.

All the velogirls lined up together on the right side. We all lined up in the right side and listened to the refree's instructions. I couldn't really talk to anyone because I was now in "race mode" and knew it was time to get down to business in just a few minutes. I must say having all of my Velo Girls teammates around me really helped with the nerves and I almost felt protected in some weird way.

The gun goes off, so many thoughts are going through my head especially the one that keeps repeating, "don't wreak". I managed to stay up front the first lap and even did some pulling. Whenever I saw Emily (another Velo Girl), I felt a sense of security, that all was going to be o.k. She was like my security blanket out on the race course.

Into the second lap, I'm thinking, "That wasn't too bad, just two more to go, I can do this!" As we are riding down this long stretch of highway with massive wind gusts, I see this black helmet head cloud to my left that looks like Joan Jett's hair and it's right over top of us. "Hmmm, where did the sun go? Could this be the storm said would come in the late afternoon? Please don't be that storm." All of a sudden I feel my arm start to sting. Everyone is stinging and we realize that we are in a hail storm. Holy crap! I thought this stuff only happens in Ohio! I look around and take a quick inventory of the "smart" girls, unlike me, they're all wearing arm warmers. Why did I opt to be cold rather than smart? Now the pace really slows down because the wind is forcing us sideways and we are all just trying to stay up right. After about 10 minutes it passes but all of us are now really cold and wet. There is much chatter about the strange weather that tried to put a damper on the race but everyone is pushing forward and game is on again.

Fast forward again to the final lap and hill climb. Mission accomplished, I get to the top with the lead pack. I see my teammate Emily. We try to discuss strategy and all I can tell her is I need to rest for a second. I tuck in behind her and catch my breath but I get anxious. I start to jump knowing we had practiced this long straightaway many times and it is pretty far until the final turn for the sprint finish. Emily jumps on my wheel, I think? We make the turn, and by now all the girls are going for it, giving teammates lead outs. I wish I could have led Emily out more but I was pooped. She races past me giving it her all. I try and stay with her as long as I can yelling for her from behind. We did it! Emily got 4th and I got 6th. That final sprint was a real rush.

Overall it was an amazing past six weeks that climaxed with the Bariani road race. I was very proud of all of our teammates that day and give major kudos to all the Velo Girls new and old, who supported me through this entire journey. We wouldn't be a team without the support of our great sponsors: Tri-Flow, Mike's Bikes, Kenda, Gu,, and many more. And last but not least the woman who got us all here, Lorri Lee Lown. You're the best! Thank you! Now put me back in the game coach!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire!

Without pause, we move from our biggest event of the year, the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix, into our first in a series of clinics that span from March through November. No time to breathe -- I can do that when I'm in a nursing home.

First up, we've got Bike Skills 101 this Saturday, with separate clinics for both women and men. Bike Skills 101 is the fundamental, must-have skills for all cyclists, whether you've been riding 20 years or 6 months. The same skills will help you become a better commuter or a safe bike racer. And for you racer types, USA Cycling upgrade points are available.

We still have 2 spots available in our women's clinic and we're only about half full in our men's clinic. Register now at:

We've got fabulous clinics schedulled for the entire year, including our popular Bike Skills series, our two-day Girls Got Skills clinic and a new Bike Touring 101 weekend clinic.

  • March 21st -- Bike Skills 102 -- Mountain Bike Skills (co-ed)
  • March 21st -- Bike Skills 201 -- Climbing + Descending Skills (co-ed)
  • April 11th -- Bike Skills 101 -- Bike Handling Skills (separate sessions for men and women)
  • April 26th -- Bike Skills 201 -- Climbing + Descending (co-ed)
  • May 9th -- Bike Skills 301 -- Group Riding (co-ed)
  • May 9th -- Bike Skills 102 -- Mountain Bike Skills (co-ed)
  • May 23rd -- Bike Skills 302 -- Racing Skills + Tactics (separate sessions for men and women)
  • May 30th - 31st -- Bike Touring 101 (co-ed)
  • June 6th -- Bike Skills 101 (men)
  • June 13th - 14th -- Girls Got Skills (women)
  • June 19th - 21st -- Death Ride Altitude Camp (co-ed)
  • June 27th -- Bike Skills 201 -- Climbing + Descending (co-ed)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Podium Results from the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix p/b Hawk Relay

Kristy Gough Memorial Women 1/2/3 -- sponsored by Third Pillar
  1. Brooke Miller, Team TIBCO
  2. Melodie Metzger, Vanderkitten
  3. Olivia Dillon, Touchstone Climbing
  4. Alison Rosenthal, Team TIBCO
  5. Liza Rachetto, SugarCRM

Matt Peterson Memorial Elite 1/2 -- sponsored by Team Roaring Mouse

  1. Daniel Holloway, Chipotle Garmin
  2. John Wilk, Sierra-Pacific Racing
  3. Fred Jacques-Maynes, Bissell
  4. Fabrice Dubost, Webcor/Alto Velo
  5. Dan Martin, Safeway/Bicycles Plus

Matt Peterson Memorial Elite 3 -- sponsored by Team Roaring Mouse
  1. John Foster, Form Fitness
  2. Craig Stewart, Taleo Racing
  3. Josh Lagrange, Form Fitness
  4. Joel Shaffer, Team Specialized Racing
  5. Ben Dodge, Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club

Women 3 Sponsored by Vanderkitten with support from BAWC
  1. Brianna Hand, Metromint Cycling
  2. Julie Nevitt, San Jose Bicycle Club
  3. Kim Wik, Hopkins Honda
  4. Kim Ladd, Hopkins Honda
  5. Angela Aldrich, San Jose Bicycle Club

Women 4 sponsored by Hypercat Racing with support from BAWC
  1. Beth Newell, Veritas Cycling
  2. Beth Welliver, Velo Bella
  3. Emily Matheiu, Team Roaring Mouse
  4. Beate Heckner, Early Bird Women
  5. Kimberly Sudbrink, Team Bicycle Trip

Women 4 35+ sponsored by Hypercat Racing with support from BAWC
  1. Sonja Klein, Left Coast Racing Team
  2. Lisa Stefke, Left Coast Racing Team
  3. Cheryl Shwe, ZTeam
  4. Kim Nutt, Stanislaus/Merlock Velo
  5. Monica Holt, Hopkins Honda

Elite 4 sponsored by Mike's Bikes
  1. Sam Benedict, Specialized
  2. Steven Sperling, Team TIBCO
  3. Michael Jasinski, Chico Corsa
  4. Ryan Byars, Team Roaring Mouse
  5. Paul Ngo, Team Roaring Mouse

Elite 5 sponsored by Sports Basement
  1. Robbie Franscioni
  2. Christopher Dudley, Nevada Cycling
  3. Abe Rotstein, Cabrillo Western
  4. Christopher Elbo, Touchstone Climbing
  5. Mark Anderson

Masters 3/4 35+ sponsored by Silicon Valley Cycling Center
  1. Jon Swanson, Specialized
  2. AJ Kennedy, Team Hammer Nutrition
  3. Wayne Hansen, VeloTech Cycles Palo Alto
  4. Jeff Eisenberg, Fusion Sport USA
  5. Murray Swanson, Peninsula Velo/Pomodoro

Masters 1,2,3,4 45+ sponsored by Plus 3 Network
  1. Jeff Poulsen, Safeway/Bicycles Plus
  2. Bill Nicely, Rubber Soul/CSC Racing Team
  3. Mike Gadow, Tieni Duro
  4. Clark Rasmussen, Wells Fargo Racing Team
  5. Daniel Smith, Morgan Stanley/Team Spine

Masters 1,2,3,4 55+ sponsored by Plus 3 Network
  1. Mac Carey, Taleo Racing
  2. Greg Bollella, Webcor/Alto Velo
  3. Gordon Martine, VOS/Cycles Gladiator
  4. Paul Langlois, Fighting Bobas
  5. Brian Fessenden, Morgan Stanley/Team Spine

You'll find full results here:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

National Champ Brooke Miller to Race at Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix

This from Team TIBCO:

Los Altos, California – U.S. National Road and Criterium Champion Brooke Miller and Team TIBCO teammates Alison Rosenthal and Alison Starnes will again mix it up with the NorCal crowd at the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix, Sunday, March 8 at 10:50 a.m. The women’s pro/1/2 race will honor Kristy Gough this year.

“We’re really lucky to have such quality races and strong fields on the local NorCal scene,” Miller said. “Everyone on our team wants to make sure they’re in top form for the early NRC races, such as Redlands at the end of the month. Races like Menlo definitely keep us in race shape.”

The Grand Prix will also give friends, family and fans of Team TIBCO the opportunity to see double national champion Miller and her teammates up close and in person.

“Criteriums are always very spectator-friendly,” Miller said. “We love it when the crowds come out and are loud! These races give people the unique opportunity to interact with the riders before and after the race, and also feel the electricity of racing. Once the national season kicks off, there won’t be too many more local races like this that we’re able to do.”

The course is easily accessible from Highway 101 on the Peninsula, as well as the Dumbarton Bridge coming from the East Bay. For directions and additional information, visit


WHEN: This Sunday, March 8th at 10:50 A.M.

WHERE: Start/Finish on Constitution Dr. & Jefferson Dr. in Menlo Park (GoogleMaps will show you!)

HOW LONG: Women’s pro race lasts one hour

WHAT TO BRING: Loud voices & cow bells to cheer on your favorite riders!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

BAWC kicks off 2009 season with Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix

The 2009 Bay Area Women's Cycling Series begins Sunday with the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix presented by Hawk Relay!

The first of 9 Series races, the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix p/b Hawk Relay is the place to be next Sunday! In addition to the Category 4 and Category 3 Series races, the MPGP will also offer a Women's 1/2/3 race this year. This is a rare opportunity for category 3 women to race twice in one day, and a great chance for women's teams to all race and support their teammates in all categories!

For the Category 4 and Category 3 Series races, BAWC will add to the already great prize lists:

* $50 "team primes" in each race, with Left Coast RacingTeam sponsoring the Category 4 primes and Team Roaring Mouse sponsoring the Category 3 primes

* Crocs gift certificate primes

* Zambrano Coffee primes and podium prizes

* Urban Oasis gift certificates

* additional cash for each podium place, sponsored by NCNCA

Pre-registration for the MPGP ends Wednesday evening. Register online now -- --
compete in the Series, and support the Menlo Park Grand Prix!

The 2009 Women's Racing Series, run by Bay Area Women's Cycling and sponsored by NCNCA, is a points series with individual and team competitions. Points are automatically awarded to women who enter the category 3 and 4 Series races. Team points are awarded when two or more women from the same team compete in the same Series race. To learn more, visit our web site --